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This morning at the Town Line Diner in Rocky Hill, the state began signing up consumers for the Charter Oak Plan. The Governor held a press conference at the diner announcing the opening of the plan and two consumers filled out applications. New information includes premiums which vary between $75 and $279/month and an annual cap on services of $100,000 in addition to the lifetime $1 million cap. Annual deductibles still range from $150 to $900 – above that amount consumers will have to pay 10% of inpatient hospital bills and 20% of outpatient surgery. The three participating health plans are Community Health Network, Aetna Better Health and AmeriChoice (United Health Plan).

Charter Oak covers hospital care, doctor or clinic visits, X rays and lab tests, prescriptions, and some mental health and substance abuse treatment. There is no pre-existing condition exclusion and subsidies in premiums and deductibles based on income.

While Charter Oak is an important new option for CT’s uninsured, it is not right for everyone. As with all insurance, consumers need to do their homework. Charter Oak may not be right for consumers who:
Have insurance now – there are exceptions, but you may not be eligible if you’ve had insurance in the last six months
Don’t have money in the bank available for health costs — $900 deductibles plus 10% of hospitals stays can get very expensive
Have high prescription needs – prescriptions are limited to $7,500/year
Need to see a specific doctor – the provider panel is likely to be very limited
Need dental or vision care – they are not covered
Need mental health or substance abuse treatment – coverage is limited

Consumers who want more information or to sign up can go to http://www.charteroakhealthplan.com/ or call 1-877-77CTOAK (1-877-772-8625).
Ellen Andrews